The first job report of 2014 is out. But as Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, while some are encouraged by the new numbers, others have their concerns.
The state added 16,700 jobs in January, bringing the unemployment rate down to 6.9 percent. That’s a dip from the 7.1 percent rate in December.
Along with seeing job growth and a falling unemployment rate, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says it tracks a third indicator: the size of the civilian labor force, which also increased in January.
Ben Johnson, a spokesman for the department, says the latest January data combined with reports of job growth in the past couple of years paint an optimistic picture in Ohio.
“What you see is that Ohio’s economy is recovering, and that the job market is strengthening," Johnson said. "And it’s still a slow recovery, but the state is certainly adding jobs, people are getting back to work and the economy is getting better.”
House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard disputes that claim and says the new report shows that Ohio still trails behind national numbers. She adds that the economic environment is much harder on the working, middle class.
And WOSU's Steve Brown has more on the jobs numbers:
State labor officials are out with the latest unemployment report that shows an improving job market.
“We saw a big increase in construction employment – 8,000 additional jobs," Johnson said. "We saw gains in professional and business services – almost 6,000 additional jobs there.”
Trade, transportation and utilities lost the most jobs.
But maybe most surprising were revised figures from 2013. Johnson says the monthly surveys added up to 25,000 jobs gained, but actual tax data showed 51,000 jobs gained. Johnson says the monthly surveys are just that: only surveys.